Moyola take derby plaudits at Coagh

Coagh Utd's Jason Gillespie holds up the ball from Moyola Park's Steven McQuillan during Saturday's local derby clash at Hagan Park.INMM0816-348
Coagh Utd's Jason Gillespie holds up the ball from Moyola Park's Steven McQuillan during Saturday's local derby clash at Hagan Park.INMM0816-348
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Coagh United’s relegation woes deepened with a 3-1 home loss to near neighbours Moyola Park.

And with fellow strugglers Portstewart winning by the same margin against Glebe Rangers, Ian Todd’s team slipped to second bottom of Championship Two.

Coagh's Stuart Forrest breaks free from his Moyola Park marker during Saturday's derby clash at Hagan Park.INMM0816-349

Coagh's Stuart Forrest breaks free from his Moyola Park marker during Saturday's derby clash at Hagan Park.INMM0816-349

There was a minute’s silence prior to the match last Saturday in memory of local vet Noel McCrea, father of Coagh physio Richard, and also Moyola president Barney Devlin, who both passed away recently.

Mr Devlin was the blacksmith immortalised by Seamus Heaney in his famous poem The Forge, but there was nothing poetic about the goalless first half at Hagan Park.

Although the visitors made the early running, both teams struggled to contend with the heavy pitch and blustery conditions and chances were at a premium.

Indeed, Moyola goalkeeper Marc Maybin did not have a save to make in the first 45. William Hassan was slightly busier, and Dowie should have tested him on 20 minutes when he headed wide from Eugene Gallagher’s cross in the first real chance of the match.

Coagh Utd's Eoghan Quigg keeps a close eye on the ball under pressure from a Moyola Park defender during Saturday's derby clash at Hagan Park.INMM0816-350

Coagh Utd's Eoghan Quigg keeps a close eye on the ball under pressure from a Moyola Park defender during Saturday's derby clash at Hagan Park.INMM0816-350

It was turning into a midfield tussle and both Shannon Crooks for Coagh and Oran McAuley from Moyola picked up bookings before Todd was forced into a change when John Uprichard tweaked a hamstring, Connor Barrow his replacement.

Daniel McIlhatton was then lucky to escape without a caution, before Coagh enforcer Jonathan Young was booked for a lunge at Gallagher. A minute later Young turned from villain to victim when Mark Waddell scythed him down, earning the Moyola man a yellow.

Tough tackling aside, there was little for the fans to shout about, although Dowie did have the ball in the net in first-half stoppage time, although the Moyola striker was a country mile offside.

Whatever Moyola manger Mervyn Patterson said to his team at half-time certainly had the desired effect, because within three minutes of the restart his side were two up.

Firstly McAuley found space in the box and Hassan could only palm his shot into the path of Dowie, who turned the ball into the empty goal.

A wicked freekick from Moyola’s dead-ball specialist Aaron Harris led to the second goal a minute later. Conor Taggart was the player who slipped his marker and headed home Harris’ cross.

To their credit the home side responded well and for the next ten minutes put Moyola under the cosh, although there was no end product.

Maybin was eventually called into action on 65 minutes. A Coagh corner was headed clear and defender Scott McGeown connected with a volley from thirty yards which the Moyola stopper did well to tip round the post.

It was the first save he’d had to make - his next job was to pick the ball out of the back of the net after Stuart Forrest’s corner was nodded home at the front post by Eoghan Quigg.

The goal threw Coagh a lifeline and for the next fifteen minutes it was one-way traffic, although the final pass too often went astray.

And with the hosts pushing on, Taggart should really have made the points safe with ten minutes to go, but from 12 yards out he hooked his shot past Hassan’s post.

Any hopes of a Coagh comeback were dashed two minutes later when Moyola substitute Adam Gray found space in the box and his cross was slotted home by Dowie.

Todd’s men will be looking to bounce back this Friday when they visit Glebe Rangers. Kick-off is at 7.45pm at the Riada Stadium.

Coagh United Football Club will be hosting a Darts Competition in memory of the late Leslie Dallas, on Saturday 12 March.

The competition has a total prize fund of £350.

Registration at 3pm for a 4pm start. Entry £5. Entries accepted on the day. Telephone 077590 58952 or 028 8673 6073.